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If You Want to See the Future, You Need to Look Ahead

To most farmers and ranchers, “sustainable” is a word that, like exercise or vacation, has a dictionary definition and a personal definition. The difference between the two, however, often is the difference between the county fair and the World’s Fair.

      These folks aren’t alone. Almost everyone and everything from commodity groups to coal companies make […]

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Brother, Can You Spare a Cup of Water?

Humanity depends on three critical threes: Without oxygen, most humans will die within three minutes; without water, life expectancy is three days; without food, we’ve got three weeks.
Few Americans give three seconds of thought to any of these life-ensuring elements because, here, food is safe and plentiful, air quality laws are in place and enforced, […]

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Diversity and Resilience versus Corn and Soybeans

By car, Quebec City, Quebec, is 1,840 miles from Bismarck, ND. I know because in the last two months I have seen every mile of highway between North Dakota’s state capital on the Missouri to Quebec’s provincial capital on the St. Lawrence.
Interestingly, as you drive west to east across arguably some of the New World’s […]

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Sustainable Is What Sustainable Does

Everywhere you look, there’s a poetic irony to today’s high-speed rush toward “slow” food and agricultural sustainability.
For example, throughout the U.S. well-informed, well-intentioned shoppers see no inherent conflict in driving their tank-sized SUVs to the local organic cooperative to purchase sustainably-grown meat, fruit, dairy products, and vegetables.
Corporate America is little different. It spends billions on […]

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Real Rural Development: Local Food

Unlike most farmers and ranchers today, Scott Laeser and Chelsea Chandler can see all their livestock and nearly every acre of their farm from their kitchen’s windows.
It’s not an expansive view. The entire farm, nestled in southern Wisconsin’s Driftless region a few crooked miles west of Argyle, is a 77-acre quilt of wetlands, prairie, woods, […]

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Feeding 9 Billion

Just before this weekly effort began 21 years ago this month, its two founders, the lovely Catherine and me, compiled a list of nearly 30 words we thought its title could include. Two words, however, shouted to be in every permutation of every possible title: farm and food.
The point of farming was—is—food so any comment, […]

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